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Hurricane Katrina: Explain Why Hurricane Katrina Was So Destructive In New Orleans

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by

Caleb Ho

on 15 April 2015

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Transcript of Hurricane Katrina: Explain Why Hurricane Katrina Was So Destructive In New Orleans

What are Hurricanes?
- Giant spiraling storms
- Tropical Disturbance → Tropical Depression → Tropical Storm → Hurricane
- Measured with the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
Hurricanes can also bring:
- Storm surges (90% of all death)
- Heavy rain
- Landslides
- Flooding
- Tornadoes

Hurricane Katrina
- 24 August 2005 Tropical Depression 12 Strengthens into Tropical Storm Katrina
- Fifth Hurricane of 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season
- Category 5 at peak intensity

- 1833 dead

- 1 million homeless

- 125 USD property damage

- Costliest Hurricane in American History

Category 3 Katrina from Space
- 1464 deaths
80% flooded
Geographical Factors
- Average city street is 6 feet below sea level

- Protected by one of the world's largest system of Levees and Floodwalls

Geographical Tub
- Over 1200 in 1464 deaths resulted from drowning

- Failure of pumps leaving citizens stranded in attics and on roofs

Social Perspective
Poor Evacuation
- Tens of thousands of people did not evacuate as told

- Most were not able to evacuate

- 120,000 people were without privately owned transportations

- High poverty rate 38% (twice the National average)

- The poor were disadvantaged even before the storm
Slow and Weak Response from FEMA
- 80% of New Orleans flooded, people without basic necessities

- Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA relief efforts started 3 days after disaster

- Turn down of help from Red Cross, Wal Mart, Coast Guard
Ernest N. Morial Convention Centre
- FEMA not aware of 15,000 - 20,000 people taking refuge in Convention Centre until after 3 days

- Supply levels low

- Convention Centre unsanitary, toilets full
Superdome
- Stadium open for people to reside in during the Storm

- 20,000 people stranded with depleted supplies and no medical support

- Slow evacuation of Superdome

- 6 deaths confirmed in Superdome
No Support
- Refugees left to fend for themselves

- Michael Brown, head of FEMA resignation

- Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans:
"Excuse my French, everybody in America but I am pissed! Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city. Get off your ass and do something and lets fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.”

Civil Disturbances
Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans
- 2002 New Orleans crime rate almost twice the National average, therefore crime increased during chaos

- Looting, murder, rape

- Not enough Police Officers to enforce law

- Top priority of Police: Search and Rescue

- Gangs free to roam and commit crime
Looting for Survival
- Most looting commited was because of depleted supplies.

- Targeted stores: Grocery stores e.g. Wal Mart

- Looter: "Steal to Survive"

- Increased occurance of Civil Disturbances linked with slow and weak relief effort from FEMA (No supplies)
Political Perspective
Concern in President Bush's Leadership and Ability
Union Leader Editorial: "A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced immediate mobilization of every available resource… The cool, confident intuitive leadership from Bush exhibited in this first term, particularly in his months following September. 11, 2001, has vanished”
Shifted Focus of Government
- War on Terrorists made top priority because of 9/11

- Diversion of resources from Storm Protection Efforts to Corps fighting in Iraq

- Fewer funds for disaster management agencies, e.g. FEMA
Concern in Government's Disaster Plan and Prevention
Evacuation Plans
- Evacuation Plan for New Orleans was for citizens to find their own way out of the city

- Even when not everybody has private transportation

- What happens when disaster strikes again?
Flood Defense
- Citizens of New Orleans depend on the levees

- Government did not anticipate overtopping of the levees and floodwalls

- Fatal Mistake
Total Insured Percentage of Property Damage from Hurricanes in US
Conclusion

- Ineffective evacuation plan

- Depletion of many supplies

- Shortage of Police Officers

- Slow and frail relief response from FEMA

- Shift of Government's focus to management of war with terrorists

Citizens evacuating New Orleans
People taking refuge at the Convention Center
Inside the Superdome
a looted Wal Mart store
Police officer stops looting
Full transcript